Why Cancer Risk Is Higher in Taller Folk

Taller people are more likely than shorter people to develop cancer because they have more cells in their body in which cancer-causing mutations can occur, according to a new study.

Previous research has found that for every 10 centimeters (4-inches) of height within the typical range for people, there is a 10 percent higher risk of cancer, The Guardian newspaper in the U.K. reported.

A number of theories have been suggested to explain this, but this new study by Leonard Nunney, professor of biology at the University of California Riverside, suggests it just comes down to a person's size.

Tall people simply have more cells in which cancer can develop, according to the study in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"Whether that comes from a better diet or the fact that your parents happen to be tall doesn't matter it is purely a number of cells, however that comes about," Nunney told The Guardian.

However, he noted that height differences don't fully explain why men are at higher risk for many cancers than women.

Taller people don't need to be concerned about their cancer risk, according to Georgina Hill, Cancer Research UK.

"A number of studies over the years have shown that taller people seem to have a slightly higher risk of cancer," she told The Guardian. "But the increased risk is small and there's plenty you can do to reduce the risk of developing cancer, such as not smoking and keeping a healthy weight."

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